The Green Bay Packers have had a very good training camp so far in avoiding injuries (knock on wood). Whatever they have changed in terms of their workout routines and bringing in a new nutritionist seems to be working so far. However, there will always be injuries in football, and Jared Abbrederis was the first major one for Green Bay after suffering a torn ACL.
Abbrederis was a huge fan favorite coming in after an extremely successful career at Wisconsin. The loss is more of a sentimental loss than a huge loss for the 2014 Packers; but it hurts nonetheless.
The biggest effect of the injury to Abbrederis this season will be in the return game. He averaged 10.7 yards per punt return at Wisconsin and was very careful with the ball. There was a good chance he was going to be their No. 1 returner.
Now, the Packers have Randall Cobb back to being their return guy right now. Cobb is very good and reliable in that role, but Green Bay cannot afford to lose him to injury again. He is just too important to the offense to risk losing returning kicks. Not exposing Cobb to any more hits than necessary with his body frame seems like the smartest move.
Abbrederis was a having a good camp by all accounts. It is unlikely that he was ever going to me more than the No.5 receiver this year, but he could have still been an asset in the slot. He is very adept at finding open spots in a zone, runs good routes getting in and out of his breaks quickly and catches everything.
However, the big reason why Abbrederis fell to the fifth round of the NFL Draft was durability concerns. He has a concussion history among other injuries that have caused him to miss time. This reared its ugly head very early in Abbrederis’ career.
The year off to rehab the injury may be a blessing in disguise for Abbrederis, as weird as that may seem. Part of the reason he gets injured a lot is his lack of bulk. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound Abbrederis can use the year off to gain strength so this kind of thing does not happen to him anymore. It also would help him improve his game immensely as long as he does not lose any of his athleticism from the injury. Another added benefit is a full year in the classroom to learn the intricate Green Bay offense.
The Packers have many candidates to replace Abbrederis as the fifth wide receiver on the roster. Myles White, Kevin Dorsey, Alex Gillett and Chris Harper all have a shot. Rookie seventh-round pick Jeff Janis has a chance to work his way into the mix too with his expected return to practice Monday after a battle with shingles. White would seem to have the early inside track after gaining 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason and performing serviceable last year when being called upon due to a rash of wide receiver injuries.
Abbrederis will be missed by his huge fan base this season, but if he uses his rehab effectively this will certainly not be the last we hear from him. He has every opportunity to come back from this a better player and ready to contribute in 2015.